Ecclestone seeks to settle German bribery case
By Jörn Poltz
MUNICH Germany (Reuters) - Lawyers for Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone held talks with German prosecutors on Tuesday to try to settle a bribery trial that threatens his grip on the motor sport.
Ecclestone, 83, went on trial in Munich in April over allegations he bribed a former German banker as part of the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.
If convicted, the British billionaire could face up to 10 years in jail and would have to cede control of a business he has built up over the past four decades.
"Public prosecutors and the defense are discussing the possibility of an agreement," a spokesman for the German authorities said.
Media reports said Ecclestone, who denies wrongdoing, on Tuesday offered to pay German state-owned bank BayernLB 25 million euros ($33.5 million) to help settle the case. There was no immediate comment from his defense team.
Prosecutors have rejected a request from the defense to drop proceedings on the grounds of a lack of evidence.
Under German law, a settlement payment to a party involved would not necessarily bring a criminal case to an end.
The court said in a statement that talks on an agreement could continue, but it also scheduled a further hearing in the case for next Tuesday. Continued...